Thursday, December 17, 2009

Julie and Julia (and Nancy... ha!)

In my post yesterday I mentioned that I rented the movie "Julie and Julia"; I really enjoyed it, one of my favorite movies in the past couple of years. If you haven't seen it, be prepared for a typical feel-good Nora Ephron flick (think You've Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle) - but who doesn't like to feel good sometimes? I do!

The movie bounces back and forth between Julie Powell's story and the story of Julia Child, and how she came to be one of America's most beloved culinary figures. Julia Child's story takes place in the 1940s and 50s, while Julie is a late-20-something in current day NYC, who had grand ambitions of being a journalist but has instead ended up in a thankless job as a customer service rep for a local government office.

Here's the story in a nutshell - Julie is a foodie, and loves to cook as a stress-reliever. So, she decides to embark on a year-long quest to make every one of the 500+ dishes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in only 365 days. She starts a blog to detail her daily cooking experiments, and over the year she amasses a huge following, which leads to instant fame and multiple book, TV and other offers! And really, in this day and age of instant reality celebrity, is it that surprising? Anyway, cute movie, and now I'm looking forward to reading the book (yes, that's her book, the one this movie was based on, in part) as I had some unanswered questions about the movie.

Anyhoo, the story captured and held my attention in a new way, since I've started coming into my own (somewhat) in the kitchen! Of course most of what she did was way over my ability level - lots of extravagant dishes that had many, many steps, any of which would almost certainly cause a disaster in my kitchen. But it was a great movie, very interesting. Did you know that Julia Child, one of the most well-known cooks/chefs of our time, did not learn how to cook until age 37?!? Ha! I'm only a year behind her, at 38; who knows what I'll accomplish!

But seriously, I have a long way to go, even to master cooking for my family and a few friends. Although I have learned how to prepare several yummy main dishes over the past few months, I really have not yet attempted to orchestrate an entire MEAL at one time. Dave is a wonderful cook, and as he has said many times, it is the timing of everything that is really one of the most crucial things about preparing a meal. Watching him in action is pretty impressive - he is very natural at prepping, chopping, sauteing, and all those things that look so easy until you TRY it. But I'm getting there, with continued practice! You know, practice makes things perfect - or at least makes them edible!

I've found all kinds of recipes on the internet, and I may be getting a cookbook for Christmas, from our family gift exchange at my folks' house this weekend. That was one of the suggestions I gave on my list. Hopefully it isn't a Julia Child cookbook, I don't think I'm ready for her yet. Anybody have any favorite cookbooks that you would recommend I buy? I'm open to suggestions. Bon appetit!

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